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Mobile Computing

Portable computer users who frequently work offline might end up with hundreds of files stored in the Offline Files folder on their hard disk. Because many of these files might be out-of-date, rarely used, or no longer needed offline, you might want to delete them from the Offline Files folder (the cache) in order to maximize the available disk space. You might also want to delete files in the Offline Files folder if a network share has been deleted or is no longer available. In addition to deleting individual files, you can reinitialize the Offline Files cache, which deletes the entire contents of the Offline Files folder. Reinitializing the Offline Files cache is useful when you transfer a computer to a new user or when a user has been working offline with sensitive or proprietary documents and you want to ensure that they are no longer available offline or that they are not in the cache.

Deleting Files

There are two methods for safely removing offline files from the cache without affecting network files or folders. You can open the Offline Files folder and delete files directly from the list of offline files. This method of cleaning up the cache allows you to delete individual files regardless of where they are located on the network or of the folder in which they are contained. Also, when you delete a file this way, the file is removed from the cache regardless of whether it was manually or automatically stored.

If you remove a file from the cache and its parent folder is pinned, the file is copied to the cache the next time you synchronize offline files.

To delete files from the cache by using the Offline Files folder

  1. In Windows Explorer, open a shared network folder.

  2. On the Tools menu, click Folder Options .

  3. In the Folder Options dialog box, click the Offline Files tab, and then click View Files .

  4. Click the file you want to delete, and then on the File menu, click Delete .

You can also delete files on a network-share basis. This method allows you to delete batches of files according to the shared folder in which they are contained. This method also allows you to distinguish between automatically stored files and manually stored files. If you delete manually stored folders this way, the folders and the files in them are no longer be pinned. To make these files or folders available offline again, you must pin the files or folders. When you delete automatically stored files this way, you only need to open the files to make them available offline.

To delete files from the cache on a network share basis

  1. In Windows Explorer, open a shared network folder.

  2. On the Tools menu, click Folder Options .

  3. In the Folder Options dialog box, click the Offline Files tab, and then click Delete Files .

  4. In the Confirm File Delete dialog box, select the shared folders that contain the offline files that you want to delete.

  5. Click the Delete only the temporary offline versions check box if you want to delete only the files that have been automatically stored. Click the Delete both the temporary offline versions and the versions that are always available offline check boxif you want to delete files that have been automatically stored and files that have been manually stored.

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Note

Files are also deleted from the cache whenever an offline file is deleted through any usual user path, such as Windows Explorer, My Computer, the Run dialog box, or the command prompt. As soon as the user verifies that he or she wants to delete the file, the file is removed from the cache. This is not an effective way to clean up the cache because it also deletes files in the shared network folder.

Reinitializing the Cache

Reinitializing the Offline Files cache deletes all of the offline files from the Offline Files folder, and it resets the system's Offline Files database. If there are files in the cache that have changed and have not been synchronized with the network versions, the changes are lost when you reinitialize the cache. Also, this procedure requires that you restart the computer after the cache is reinitialized.

To reinitialize the Offline Files cache

  1. In Windows Explorer, open a shared network folder.

  2. On the Tools menu, click Folder Options .

  3. In the Folder Options dialog box, click the Offline Files tab.

  4. Press CTRL + SHIFT, and then click Delete Files .

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Caution

You cannot undo the effects of reinitialization. After the cache is reinitialized, all offline files are permanently removed from the computer.

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